Comment
0
Tweet
0
Print
RSS Feeds

Pendleton wins Olympic keirin

Friday - 8/3/2012, 3:01pm  ET

By SAMUEL PETREQUIN
AP Sports Writer

LONDON (AP) - Victoria Pendleton of Britain washed away the disappointment of her disqualification in the team sprint by claiming the gold medal in the keirin Friday at the London Olympics.

Pendleton, who got her second Olympic title after winning the individual sprint in Beijing four years ago, will retire after London.

She surged ahead before the start of the final lap at the velodrome, then held off Guo Shuang of China, who claimed the silver medal. Lee Wai Sze of Hong Kong took bronze.

Pendleton, who was devastated after the team sprint, raised both arms after crossing the finish line and brandished a Union Jack to the delight of the 6,000 fans packing the arena.

The 31-year-old Pendleton gave Britain its third gold medal in two days of competition on the super fast track, just moments after Ed Clancy, Geraint Thomas, Peter Kennaugh and Steven Burke won the team pursuit title in a world record time.

Britain claimed its first gold on Thursday after Sir Chris Hoy and his teammates won the team sprint.

In the keirin, an unpredictable and physical event extremely popular in Japan, riders line up on the track behind a pace motorbike called a derny.

Riders can jockey for position behind the derny but are not allowed to pass it. The race then turns into a massive sprint when the derny leaves the track with 2 1/2 laps to go.

After easily getting through the qualifying rounds, Pendleton took a cautious start in the final and put herself in third behind Guo and Lee. She carefully watched her Australian archrival Anna Meares, who was the first to attack and jumped to the front with about two laps to go.

Pendleton, a world champion in the keirin in 2007, responded immediately and surged to the front to pull away and stay ahead until the end.

Guo missed another occasion to become the first athlete from China to win a gold in track cycling. The former keirin world champion was second in the team sprint with Gong Jinjie after being stripped from the title for an illegal relay.

A two-time defending world champion in the keirin, Meares ended a disappointing fifth.

"I thought I would get out in front early and give myself what I thought would be an advantage over Victoria and Guo, but I got squeezed at 200 meters and didn't quite execute," Meares said.

It was the first time women's keirin was held at the Olympics.

Pendleton will have another chance of a medal in front of her home crowd when she defends her title in the individual sprint.


(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)